No. 9 Stanford overpowers No. 4 Xavier 89-52


No. 9 Stanford overpowers No. 4 Xavier 89-52

Dec. 28, 2010

STANFORD,Calif. (AP) Tara VanDerveer sent her players home for a short holidaybreak with a scouting report DVD. Her players sure showed up as ifthey'd studied the film and then some.Bring on unbeaten Connecticut.Nnemkadi Ogwumike had 23 points and11 rebounds and No. 9 Stanford pulled off a surprising rout offourth-ranked Xavier with an 89-52 victory Tuesday for its 51ststraight home win.What a tuneup for Thursday's highly anticipated showdown with top-ranked UConn."This was a real important game forour team," VanDerveer said. "I'm really proud of how everyone prepared.Everyone really knew what we needed them to do and they came out anddid it."Jeanette Pohlen added 19 points, ninerebounds, six assists and three steals and Kayla Pedersen had 14 pointsfor the Cardinal (8-2), who beat the third-seeded Musketeers in theSacramento Regional last March when Pohlen drove the length of thefloor in 4.4 seconds and scored the game-winning layin as time expiredfor a 55-53 victory. That win sent Stanford back to its third straightFinal Four. The play was shown over and over again on the highlightreels.This game lacked any such drama.Amber Harris had 18 points and ninerebounds for cold-shooting Xavier (10-2), which lost its secondstraight game after a 10-0 start.Special Jennings had 12 points andTa'Shia Phillips grabbed 12 rebounds for the overmatched Musketeers,who were coming off a 46-45 defeat at Duke on Dec. 21 for their firstloss of the season. They committed 30 turnovers and shot 38 percent inthat game, then didn't look much better in shooting 30 percent againstStanford."They won that game in the firstfour minutes. They came out with a lot of energy and a lot of intensityand we were kind of on our heels," Jennings said. "We just didn't showup today. I don't know what else to say. We did not play the way we arecapable, and the way we are known to play."The Cardinal came out with energy onboth ends of the floor in their first game since VanDerveer became thesixth women's coach to get 800 wins with a 100-45 victory over formerStanford stars turned coaches Jennifer Azzi and Katy Steding at SanFrancisco last Wednesday.Next up: UConn on Thursday night atsold-out Maples Pavilion. It's a rematch of last year's NCAAchampionship won 53-47 by the Huskies after Stanford led 20-12 athalftime."It's coming and we're veryexcited," VanDerveer said. "This is December and I think we're reallymaking great progress. For us to have played who we've played, I feellike we've played a brutal schedule. With the exception of USF we'vehad to work really hard, and I think that will pay off for us Thursdayand pay off for us in the Pac-10. Our team will be focused. They willbe ready. I know they will have a great effort and we will learn moreabout our team."The Cardinal are the last team to beat the Huskies, in the 2008 national semifinals in Tampa, Fla.UConn was set to play later Tuesdayat Pacific in Stockton going for its 90th straight victory in what wasexpected to be a lopsided warmup for the game with Stanford."Today we came out and we were sofocused and we were very aggressive," Pedersen said. "We're going tohave to be even more aggressive than we were today. Going into halftimewe're going to have to keep the momentum and come out in the secondhalf and be the aggressor."Stanford held a 44-41 reboundingadvantage against the imposing front line featuring the 6-foot-6Phillips and 6-5 Harris - who combined for 34 rebounds in the loss toDuke. But Harris, the team's leading scorer at 20.2 points per game,wasn't in the starting lineup Tuesday after sitting out Monday'spractice as a medical precaution after she was hit against Duke andsuffered concussion-like symptoms. Harris checked in at the 16:26 mark,started the second half and wound up 6 for 11 from the floor.Freshman Chiney Ogwumike added 10points, five rebounds and four steals for Stanford, which committedonly eight turnovers while forcing 17.Xavier missed its first 10field-goal tries before Katie Rutan hit a 3-pointer at the 13:49 markof the first half. The Musketeers went 2 for 18 from 3-point range inthe game and began 5 for 21 to fall behind 37-24 at halftime. Phillipsdidn't score her first points until a basket with 7:11 left in theopening half.Ogwumike had 15 points and eightrebounds by halftime, including making 5 of 5 free throws. Stanford gotto the line 11 times and converted 10.The Musketeers didn't look all thatinspired considering the way the tournament game ended. Xavier's DeeDee Jernigan missed two wide-open layins in the closing 12 seconds thatlikely would have sent the Musketeers to San Antonio for their firstFinal Four - but they watched as Pohlen won it instead.Last season's meeting in the NCAA tournament was the only other matchup between these programs.

Williamson stuns Davis in ninth, but earlier mistakes haunt Giants

Williamson stuns Davis in ninth, but earlier mistakes haunt Giants

CHICAGO — Had a half-dozen other things gone differently Wednesday night, the Giants might have spent the hour after the game shrugging off a blowout loss or celebrating one of the best at-bats of the year. 

Three innings after the game was nearly lost for good, Mac Williamson saw 12 pitches from Wade Davis, who entered with a perfect ERA in 19 appearances, fouling eight of them off before slamming a two-run homer to right. The play came with some comedic value, as Williamson nearly passed Eduardo Nuñez on the bases. It also came with some historic value, as it snapped a streak of 19 consecutive solo shots that was two shy of the MLB record. 

The homer was not, however, the talking point after the game. A few minutes after Williamson went deep, Joe Panik was tossing his bat into the grass in frustration over a called third strike that ended the game and clinched a 5-4 win for the Cubs. Ten minutes after that, Bruce Bochy watched the highlight and tossed his phone onto his desk. 

“It’s a shame to end on that call, it really is,” Bochy said. “We had him on fumes and that’s not a strike. But they got the call and that’s it.”

The Giants were left with their third loss in four games, a run that has halted their momentum. They again are 11 games back in the National League West, with so many nights like this one: A comeback seemed real, but the mistakes were too much to overcome. 

Williamson, in talking about his homer, pivoted and pointed to a blunder of his own. In a tied game in the fifth, Miguel Montero hit a single to right with Addison Russell on first. The speedy shortstop watched Williamson as the ball rolled into the outfield, and when Williamson didn’t charge as hard as he otherwise might, Russell took off for third. The throw was perfect, but late. Russell scored on a fly ball. 

“The home run is really cool but it would have been a lot cooler if I hadn’t have made the mistake earlier in the game and given them the extra run,” Williamson said, explaining that he has tried to focus on being smooth to the ball and not rushing on fast outfields. In the past, rushing has led to bobbles and extra bases. 

Another costly sequence came in the eighth. After the Giants left the bases loaded in the top of the inning, Steven Okert gave up a triple to Jason Heyward, who scored on a sacrifice fly. Okert, so good when he was first called up, has been less effective of late. 

“We’ve got to get our lefties going,” Bochy said. “We gave them a run there and that put it at three and that’s just enough to cover it for them.”

Truth be told, the Giants were probably lucky to even have worries at that point. The wind blew a three-run Heyward homer inches foul in the sixth, and while the Giants grumbled about the final call of the game, an earlier call on Heyward for running inside the base path took a Cubs run off the board and killed a rally. It was correct by the letter of the law, but one you rarely see. The Giants escaped, but they wouldn’t come all the way back, despite Williamson’s late push. 

The young outfielder has been looking to make an impact since coming back up on the last homestand. He knew how tough Davis has been. 

“He’s been the best in the game this year and the numbers speak for themselves,” Williamson said. “He has phenomenal stuff. You get in the box and figure you’ve got nothing to lose, battle as tough as you can.”

Williamson fouled off good strikes and tantalizing balls. When he lofted a 2-2 pitch toward right, he took off out of the box. The ball carried just over the wall, and Williamson didn’t look up until he rounded third. That’s when Phil Nevin started yelling at him to slow down. Nuñez, who had a tight hamstring, turned and told Williamson to slow down.

“I kinda blacked out for a second there,” Williamson said. 

“I was like, ‘Bro, it’s a homer — just jog,’” Nunez said.

The moment temporarily sent a rush through the dugout. Minutes later, the Giants were left livid over a game that probably shouldn’t have been so close, but nonetheless was right there for them to steal. 

Instant Analysis: Giants' rally falls short in 5-4 loss to Cubs

Instant Analysis: Giants' rally falls short in 5-4 loss to Cubs


CHICAGO — The Giants will need a win on getaway day to clinch their first winning road trip.

Wednesday's comeback attempt fell just short, as the Giants scored two in the ninth but lost to the Cubs 5-4. Since taking the first two games in St. Louis, they have dropped three of four, falling 11 games back of the Rockies in the division.

Here are five things to know from the coldest Giants game of the year … 

— Mac Williamson fouled off eight pitches before going the opposite way against Wade Davis, who entered with a 0.00 ERA in 19 appearances. The two-run homer ended a run of 19 consecutive solo shots by the Giants, two short of their own MLB record. It was the first homer off Davis in two years. 

— The sixth inning was one of the stranger escapes we’ve seen from a pitcher this season. With two on and one out, Jason Heyward blasted a Matt Moore pitch right down the line and it looked like it would give the Cubs a 6-2 lead. The wind blew the ball a couple of feet foul. Heyward then topped one down the line and Moore’s throw bounced away from first, allowing a run to score. But the umpires called — correctly — Heyward out for running inside the line. It’s a call you rarely see. Moore then struck out Addison Russell to keep what could have easily been a 6-2 or 4-2 game at 3-2. 

— Before the first game of this series, a Giant asked in the dugout, “I wonder what some of the Cubs’ numbers would look like at our place?” Anthony Rizzo is a .159 hitter with no homers in 18 career games at AT&T Park, but he had no issues on a night when conditions were worse than they are most nights in San Francisco. Rizzo homered off Moore in his first two at-bats. 

— Rizzo will occasionally put a bunt down to beat the shift — he had an accidental bunt in his third at-bat — which the Giants have long wanted Brandon Belt to do. Belt pushed one away from the shift in the sixth, and even though it was too close to pitcher Kyle Hendricks, the throw was off and Belt reached second. One of those a week would open up a few more holes. 

— This lineup has made a habit of making mediocre and downright bad pitchers look good, and the actual good ones are taking advantage, too. A night after Jon Lester recorded his first complete game of the year, Hendricks threw seven innings for the first time.